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Watch Greta Thunberg being carried away by police during anti-wind farm protest in Norway

Greta Thunberg was carried away by police during a protest in Oslo on Wednesday
Greta Thunberg was carried away by police during a protest in Oslo on Wednesday Copyright AFP
Copyright AFP
By Angela Symons with Reuters, AFP & EBU
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The Swedish activist was briefly detained by Oslo police in March,

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Greta Thunberg was briefly detained by Oslo police on 1 March during a protest against wind farms built on Indigenous land in Norway.

Along with dozens of other activists, the Swedish environmental campaigner has been blocking entrances to the energy and finance ministries in Oslo since Monday 27 February. 

Thunberg, a passionate advocate for the ending the world's reliance on carbon-based power, says the transition to green energy cannot come at the expense of Indigenous rights.

"Indigenous rights, human rights, must go hand-in-hand with climate protection and climate action. That can't happen at the expense of some people. Then it is not climate justice," she said in an interview with news agency Reuters.

Video footage from Wednesday shows the police carrying Thunberg away from the entrance to the Ministry of Finance carrying a Sami flag. As protestors chant, she is set down on the ground nearby. She is once again removed after attempting to join protestors at another entrance.

Are the wind farms in Norway illegal?

The two wind farms in question occupy land traditionally used by Indigenous Sami reindeer herders in central Norway. Their 151 turbines can power some 100,000 Norwegian homes.

But in 2021 the country's supreme court ruled that the projects violated Sami rights under international conventions. Despite this, they remain in operation more than 16 months later.

"They've already waited more than 500 days, I think that's more than enough time," Greta argues.

Campaigners from Nature and Youth and the Norwegian Samirs Riksforbund Nuorat joined her in blocking the entrances to the Ministry of Oil and Energy in protest.

Campaigners from Nature and Youth and the Norwegian Samirs Riksforbund Nuorat block the entrances to the Ministry of Oil and Energy with Greta Thunberg in Oslo, Norway.
Campaigners from Nature and Youth and the Norwegian Samirs Riksforbund Nuorat block the entrances to the Ministry of Oil and Energy with Greta Thunberg in Oslo, Norway.NTB/Ole Berg-Rusten via REUTERS

How do the wind farms disrupt the lives of Sami people?

Reindeer herders in the Nordic country say the sight and sound of the giant wind power machinery frighten their animals and disrupt age-old traditions.

"We are here to demand that the turbines must be torn down and that legal rights must be respected," says Sami singer-songwriter, actress and activist Ella Marie Haetta Isaksen.

She and a dozen other Sami demonstrators had occupied the ministry's reception area since Thursday. Police forcibly removed them around 1.30am on Monday and detained them before releasing them.

They returned to the ministry, this time outside, around 6am.

The Sami protesters wore their traditional costume, often called gakti, inside out as a sign of protest.

Standing in solidarity with them, Greta says, "I'm here to support the struggle for human rights and Indigenous rights. The Norwegian state is violating human rights and that is completely unacceptable."

Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration against wind farms in Norway on 27 February 2023.
Greta Thunberg attends a demonstration against wind farms in Norway on 27 February 2023.NTB/Ole Berg-Rusten via REUTERS

Why are the wind farms still operational?

Despite the supreme court ruling on the wind farms, their ultimate fate is a complex legal quandary according to the energy ministry, which is hoping to find a compromise.

The court's verdict did not say what should happen to the 151 turbines or the dozens of kilometres of roads built to facilitate the construction.

"We understand that this case is a burden for the reindeer herders," Minister of Energy and Petroleum Terje Aasland said in a statement.

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"The ministry will do what it can to contribute to resolving this case and that it will not take longer than necessary," he added.

When asked what the protestors hope to achieve, Greta says, "We want the windmills taken down and the land to be returned to the Indigenous communities there."

We want the windmills taken down and the land to be returned to the Indigenous communities there.
Greta Thunberg

Who owns the wind farms?

Owners of the Roan Vind and Fosen Vind farms include Germany's Stadtwerke Muenchen, Norwegian utilities Statkraft and TroenderEnergi, as well as Swiss firms Energy Infrastructure Partners and BKW.

"We trust that the ministry will find good solutions allowing us to continue the production of renewable energy while maintaining the rights of the reindeer owners," Roan Vind said in a statement.

Utility BKW said it expected the wind turbines to remain in place, with compensatory measures to ensure that the rights of the Sami reindeer herders are guaranteed.

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Stadtwerke Muenchen declined to comment.

Statkraft and Energy Infrastructure Partners were not immediately available for comment.

Watch the video above to see Greta being carried away by police.

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